There was a time, not so long ago, when Samuel Umtiti was considered untouchable at Barcelona.
One of a select band of players that, come hell or high water, were not going anywhere.
Part of the furniture might be an apt description for the Frenchman at that point.
But how quickly things can change…This season has been something of a disaster for the centre-back, with injuries taking their toll.
An ongoing problem with his knee could’ve been sorted out with surgery and a period out of competitive action, but Umtiti preferred to take himself off to the Middle East and try to holistically overcome the issue.
That decision didn’t go down well with the powers that be at the club, and in the meantime, Clement Lenglet has taken the opportunity afforded him with both hands.
So much so that it can now be said that Umtiti can no longer be considered as a certain starter.
Getting back to full fitness has been a problem for the big man too. Against Villarreal he was exposed time and again.
Though he was never the quickest, he looked to be running through quicksand for the most part, and he was quickly replaced in the starting XI once again.
Since that point, the rumours surrounding Matthijs De Ligt have surfaced.
Whilst the Dutchman is right-footed and Umtiti is a leftie, there is credibility to school of thought that the signing of the former could spell the end of the latter at the Camp Nou.
From a financial perspective, it’s clear that the Catalans need to raise significant funding. Despite his problems in 2018/19, Umtiti could still command a decent fee.
Signed for only €25 million from Lyon, Barcelona will make a tidy profit and an associated saving on salary.
Should De Ligt arrive, along with Gerard Pique and Lenglet, Umtiti would make up a quartet of centre-backs.
If he wants to get anywhere close to a regular starting berth again, however, not only will he need to take heed of the advice from the club’s medical staff in the short term, but will have to up his output in the medium to longer term.
If he’s not prepared to do the former then, frankly, he’s signed his own exit warrant.
Albeit the decision could be taken completely out of his hands this summer and he’ll only have himself to blame.